The Affable Anomie

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Location: New Delhi, India

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Love and a Sense of Place

Pop music lays a truism upon us that really, love happens everywhere and if you truly are in love, it’s enough that it’s just the both of you and nothing else. Even the poets of old imagine an exclusively created world in which lovers perch together against just about everything apart from it.

But given the case of some people not liking ‘long-distance relationships’ and for that matter, Woody Allen stubbornly refusing to leave New York to be with his lover, reality at times seems to say the opposite. And this is where, for some of us, something as insignificant as Delhi (from the lover’s point of view) becomes larger than life.

Imagine sitting broke in North Delhi for two years, spaced-out not only because of studying, but also due to Kamla Nagar having been the only place you’ve been hanging out. Moreover, you feel dug-up and turned inside out just like all of North Campus being excavated for the Commonwealth Games. And when you bring all of this to your relationship, no matter how much love unwinds you, you still feel slightly stagnated. Given that there was a time when you could be in South Delhi and be all charm and wit, it annoys you even further.

Against the odds, we decide to go to India Coffee House (still CP, again the only accessible place and so you’re slightly sick of it) and the open balcony there brings about a certain candidness. We can now feel things beginning to move, and latch on to it for the next month. Later, with the threat of exams hovering about us, we sense the need for another sortie. So we proceed to JNU to get that extra sense of freedom, JNU being a place that is nowhere in particular. Invigorated by the breeze there, I tell her, “You’re exotic enough for me” and this somehow takes us further. Next comes the Basant Lok market, where the reassuring glow of the Fact and Fiction Bookshop and the coziness of Modern Bazaar (you feel like you’re in a refrigerator full of goodies) create that sort of world between her and me. We haven’t been to Khan Market yet, but I’m sure the white uncluttered atmosphere of the place is going to infuse us with a calm dignity and clarity of mind.

Indeed, you did visit these places when you were single. Indeed, you might have been happy there. But the point is, when you are in love, these qualities become part of your psyche and become more worth cherishing. Even on the way to these places, be it in the metro or a bus, you face each other differently and observe different things together (you can have fun at the expense of T-Shirt slogans in the metro or enjoy the embassy-lined road in Chanakyapuri with flowers of various colours in a bus). A sense of place not only makes you do things together, but makes you the kind of people you really want to be. And is that not the essence of love?